Welcome to our Press, News and Interviews Page
NEWS - October 2011
Building on Success! By Jaye Nolan
It’s been a long time in the making but the real campaign to restore our castle is finally off and running!
Late summer proved to be a watershed moment, as with the Memorandum of Understanding between us, English Heritage and Medway Council in place, licenses were granted to fundraise at all future Rochester Castle events, both ours and those booked by third parties.
The first two events were upon us immediately, with the (well documented!) screening of Ironclad in the Castle Gardens quickly followed by the Medieval Merriment. Over £2000 was raised across both weekends, proving to ourselves and, importantly, to the Charities Commission, that we are well on course to raise the necessary funds to qualify us for full charity status.
So begins an exciting new phase! We head into October with a Fancy Dress Fundraising Halloween Party planned for the 27th, at Rochester’s newest top notch night club, Olivers. See full details here to book your ticket - http://www.restorerochestercastle.co.uk/page2.php
You might need medieval thermals for the next event – a sponsored walk around the castle! The provisional date for this is Saturday, November 5th and it will take place between 9.30am – 1pm. Contact us for more information on taking part in the walk or volunteering on the day. http://www.restorerochestercastle.co.uk/page1.php
With more events planned for next year and generously donated office space being made ready for us to move into, our campaign can really reach for the next level. Keep up to date with all the news here, via Twitter or Facebook. And don’t forget to tell your friends all about us – even those that live far away can still contribute – check out our fabbie ‘Donate’ button here! http://www.restorerochestercastle.co.uk/Home.php
Link to Meridian Interview with James Purefoy
What Kent Online said:
Hunky actor back at scene of famous battle
Hunky actor James Purefoy came face-to-face with the scene of an historic conflict in which he played a key part in a movie of the event.
The star, who rose to fame as Mark Antony in the acclaimed TV series Rome, was a Knight Templar in Ironclad, which recreates the siege of Rochester Castle in 1215 by marauding King John.
He introduced a special showing of the film at the castle at the weekend, greeting fans in his first return to the Towns since a research trip last year.
He told the Messenger: "I had spent two days down here soaking up the atmosphere and learning about the history of the place. The real thing beats the set big time – we only had half a castle and the rest was CGI."
He was joined by cheeky cockney knight Jamie Foreman, a newly-announced EastEnders star also known for his roles in Layer Cake and Sleepy Hollow.
The pair were supporting the Restore Rochester Castle campaign, which collected on the night and took a donation from outdoor film firm Nomad Cinema.
Campaign chairman Jon O’Donnell said: "James suggested the idea and it’s an absolute dream to see it happening. They fell in love with the castle and this is like coming home for them."
Did you go to the event? Let us know what you thought by posting your views.
See Friday’s Messenger for a review of the event
Tuesday, August 30 2011
From our Sponsors Website - Rochester People
Ironclad Stars Help Raise Awareness of Rochester Castle's Condition
By jayenolan | Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 12:27
Ironclad stars James Purefoy, Jamie Foreman and Florence. Rochester Castle August 2011
Our magnificent Norman Keep, Rochester Castle
James Purefoy and Jamie Foreman with Restore Rochester Castle committee members, Peter Reeds and Jon O'Donnell.
With both men giving freely of their time, no fan wanting a photo or an autograph went away without one – or without dipping into their pockets for a donation to the Restore Rochester Castle fund! The total raised on the night was at least £1300, and you can see our photo galleries of James, Jamie and their fans here.
Telling the story of the 1215 Siege of the castle by King John, Ironclad pitched a whole host of familiar faces into battle with James (Solomon Kane, Injustice, Rome) and Jamie (Layer Cake, Nil by Mouth): Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Sir Derek Jacobi (Cadfael, Dr. Who, The Golden Compass), Mackenzie Crook (The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean), Brian Cox (Rise of the Planet of the Apes – soon to play Matt Busby in Theatre of Dreams) Charles Dance (The Jewel in the Crown, Going Postal) and American Paul Giamatti (Saving Private Ryan)- a suitably manic performance with an excellent English accent!
Gory and violent, the film nevertheless gives heart and soul to the rebels who held out for almost two months against all the odds, with the sterling cast bringing their characters to life. Watching it in the shadow of our magnificent Norman keep made it all the more emotional, witness the spontaneous outbreak of cheering and clapping at certain points (no spoilers here!)
What they said:
of Nomad Open Air Cinema, introducing:
"This is the perfect film for this venue tonight – this is a pilot venue so we would love to know if the people of Rochester would like an annual screening here." The audience response suggested YES!
Cllr Ted Baker, Mayor of Medway:
"It's my pleasure to welcome you all tonight, thank you for coming. I'm very glad to be a part of the Restore Rochester Castle campaign, for this is my castle – I'm Constable of the castle – any messing about, we've still got dungeons!"
"Thank you all very, very much for coming. Making the film did impact on us all and coming here is like being back with an old friend. I have to apologise for a few historical inaccuracies in the film – that I obviously had nothing to do with ;) - but I won't apologise for the level of violence. I hope you're not shocked but it is one of the most violent films you'll ever see in your life. It was a most violent period so we couldn't hold back on the blood! Especially not with Florence around (his broadsword used in the film, which accompanied him to the screening) she's called that because once you kick her into motion, you just had to go with the Flo!"
Jamie Foreman (soon to be appearing in EastEnders as the eldest Branning, Derek):
"We're having such a wonderful time, thank you all very much – I can see you're all very well equipped and I hope you enjoy the film. It is violent but when you're offered a script where you beat someone to death with a severed arm you can't really turn it down! (He's talking about Ironclad, not EastEnders! Although, give 'em time ...) The fight scenes are very intense, although heavily choreographed. You can hurt and be hurt, so you have to be careful and work hard to get it right – especially with that broadsword flying around, although I think James managed to miss everyone! The stunt guys moaned and groaned but they're used to it!"
Speaking to me before the screening, James said: "It's a beautiful castle, I love it; it means a great deal to me and it's a crying shame it's falling into disrepair. The amount of money needed just for the survey is crucial – which is why I'm being so mercenary asking for donations. What happened here, that period of English history, was so important. Ironclad shows what an incredibly violent siege it was; it holds a mirror up to nature.
Nomad deciding to screen the film here was a terrific idea – I'd suggested to Kevin (Kevin Payne, Restore committee) when he first contacted me about the castle's condition, that we should have a screening here and that I'd try to bring along some of the cast. I'm thrilled it has actually happened."
James has three new films in post production, including a BBC film for the Cultural Olympiad, while Jamie is currently filming St.George's Day. For more from my interviews with both of them, just click the links under their names. It was a real pleasure to meet them both and Restore Rochester Castle are eternally grateful for all their support.
If you wish to donate or offer to help Restore Rochester Castle in any way, please visit their website here. The Gazebo will again been in residence in the Castle Gardens for the Medieval Merriment this coming weekend, so do pop over and say hi - preferably with some loose notes ;)
Rochester People are proud to sponsor Restore Rochester Castle and I'll be out and about over the weekend with my camera, so keep an eye out for more galleries!
in Events, Interviews, News
I was lucky enough to have an access-all-areas pass on Saturday, for Nomad Open Air Cinema’s screening of Ironclad, the film depicting the 1215 siege of Rochester Castle by King John. Taking full advantage, as you’d expect, I chatted to the stars in attendance, James Purefoy and Jamie Foreman, who made the special trip along to help with fundraising for the Restore Rochester Castle group.
Jamie Foreman, who plays mercenary convict Jedediah Coteral in the film, is looking forward to his new role in EastEnders, as the eldest, baddest, Branning brother.
“I’m really excited! It was only announced on Thursday and I’m already feeling a bit nervous. It’s a great cast and a good family of actors. As head of the Brannings, the big bad bro back from prison, he’s got his sights set firmly on the Square! He’s definitely going to cause a stir.”
There may be plenty of fighting around Albert Square, but filming the violent action and stunt sequences in Ironclad is an altogether different experience.
“Those fight scenes are much more intense, although heavilychoreographed. You can hurt and be hurt, so you have to be careful and work hard to get it right – especially with that broadsword flying around, although I think James managed to miss everyone! The stunt guys moaned and groaned but they’re used to it!”
With new films in post production and being unable to resist EastEnders, Jamie does, nevertheless, have a project already lined up for the future.
“After EastEnders I’ll be putting a film into production about my father (crime underworld legend Freddie Foreman). It’ll be a movie in its own right, based on his nefarious deeds. Contrary to reports, he was very much his own man. We had a pub in Lance Street and I grew up around the Borough in South London. It’s taken two years and I’m still re-writing, but it’s attracted good people and there’s a positive response.”
As a jobbing actor for many years, Jamie has no preferred medium – any chance to ply his trade and he’s happy with a great script and storyline, be it film or TV. And for those of us aspiring for a career in film, Jamie has these wise words:
“Work hard, believe in yourself and your talent. Do your homework and follow your dream!”
Galleries of the evening can be found here and further quotes and review here.
in Events, Interviews, News
So, after I’d finished with Jamie, I ambled casually over to James for my supposed three minutes, three questions – the answers to which you can find here, within a review of the event. However, no-one came to drag me away so I stayed where I was and asked him a few more!
One of James’ projects in post-production is BBC film Richard 11, one of four medieval big budget films by the corporation, utilising the Shakespeare brand for the arts festival coinciding with next year’s Olympics.
“I play Thomas Mowbray, the Duke of Norfolk, who, importantly, is edged aside by Bolingbroke. It’s a meditation on the divine nature of Kingship.
“It’s a whole bunch of terrific actors, including Patrick Stewart, Lindsay Duncan, David Suchet and David Morrissey, and will be shown next year as part of the BBC’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad.”
Considering his ruggedly handsome charm, James has managed to avoid being typecast throughout his career, choosing roles in direct contrast to the one before – but there does seem to have been a bit of a sword wielding hero-fest just lately …
“You do different things and people know you for certain types – there will be some who know me only for Injustice and others for Resident Evil.(I reminded him of Coasting – and of being Jackie’s psychotic love interest in an episode of Taggart!) But being known as Awesome Man With Sword (Ironclad, Camelot, Rome, Solomon Kane, A Knight’s Tale, George and the Dragon) well, that’s not so bad – I’ll take as many of those while I still can!”
TV, film or theatre? As with Jamie, so with James:
“Wherever the good script and good people are, that’s the medium for me. All of them are completely different disciplines but just as exciting. I was recently at The Theatre Royal with Sienna Miller and Sheridan Smith, in Terence Rattigan’s wartime drama Flare Path; being on stage is like being on a high wire – you can’t say ‘cut’ and do it again! And I’m writing and developing a big TV series drama – but it’s top secret at the moment!”
Any advice for Rochester’s community of writers and film-makers?
“Work hard, be original.”
James and Jamie’s presence on Saturday night made an unusual evening into a memorable, magical event, so a heartfelt and massive thank you to them both. If you’ve enjoyed reading these interviews, how about popping over to the Restore Rochester Castle website and showing your appreciation by way of a donation; they, and we, will love you forever!